Sunday, July 22, 2012

Asean Conference on Rohingya Crisis
July 20, 2012

KUALA LUMPUR, July 19 (Bernama) -- An international conference on the crisis of violence against Rohingyas in Arakan, Myanmar, will be held on Aug 14 to derive at a solution involving Asean members.

Malaysian International Islamic Cooperation Institute president (Ikiam) Datuk Zahidi Zainul Abidin said the location of the conference would be decided soon and was expected to be attended by Islamic non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in the region.

"The aim of the conference, among others, is to create a big group which can voice out and help the Rohingyas, in terms of supplies and contribution of basic and daily needs.

"Although the crisis of violence had existed for a long time, no power or voice was capable of carrying out a mission on humanitarian aid to the area," he told a press conference here today.

He said it was hoped the conference would at least, help the Rohingyas emerge from oppression and violence, thus paving the way for peace and hope for a better life.

Also present was Malaysian Muslim Chamber of Commerce and Industry honorary adviser Datuk Seri Dr Jalil Siam.

Dr Jalil said it was not impossible for the conference to get the cooperation of countries in the region.

He said the conference could be the trigger for all peace processes, including discussing problems and challenges in creating an aid mission by a coalition from Asean to the problematic area.

At a separate press conference, Malaysian Islamic Youth Movement (Abim) international bureau committee member Adli Zakuan said Abim, with the cooperation of the Global Peace Mission (GPM) had successfully built a network with Islamic NGOs in Yangon for humanitarian aid mission to Arakan.

He clarified that the Myanmar Government had recognised several of the NGOs and this facilitated Malaysian NGOs to hand over contributions to the Rohingyas.

"But, there are at least, 100,000 other victims who are now living in thick forests and mountains to avoid being killed," he said at the GPM office here today.

Also present was GPM deputy chief executive officer Mohd Shakir Fahmi Fakhrulrazi who also urged the public to contribute, via the RM200 One Family Campaign which targeted RM1 million.

Comment: This is a very encouraging sign.  At the very least we can hope that an Asean conference will help move the Rohingya crisis away from the global shadows of willful indifference and neglect.

See below for more coverage of the Rohingya crisis:

"Who will speak for the Rohungya?"  Korean Times (July 22, 2012)

"Amnesty Int'l: Myanmar's Rohingyas being targeted"  Ahram Online (July 21, 2012)

"More than 300,000 from Myanmar live in makeshift camps along its border with Bangladesh as unregistered refugees."

 "Rohingya: The world's most forgotten people" Al Jazeera (July 22, 2012)


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